Number Of New York State Trial Courts
New York is alone in maintaining such a complex court structure made up of so many overlapping trial courts with limited jurisdiction. Other States have embraced reform, including California, which in 1998 adopted a single trial court throughout the state. A study of California’s current judicial model, conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), found that court simplification resulted in:
- Improved use of resources: judges have greater flexibility in being assigned to cases through the removal of jurisdictional constraints and greater flexibility in case type.
- Greater efficiency of court staff: in organizing staff by function rather than jurisdiction, courts are better able to reassign excess staff and reduce overlap.
- Greater efficiency of court operations: improved case management practices reduce backlogs and improve time to disposition, standardization of rules, and case processing.
- Enhanced quality of service: increased accessibility of courts and more cost-effective use of staff allow for expansion of programs to serve juveniles and domestic violence survivors.
Other benefits included greater cooperation between the judiciary and other branches of government, enhanced opportunities for innovation, and greater accessibility and accountability of the courts. (See Full Article)
The National Center for State Courts has charts showing the court structure of all US states and territories. The court structure charts summarize in one-page diagrams the key features of each state’s court organization. Below are a few examples: